How Long Will Your Car Last?

[Editor’s Note: This article has been updated for comprehensiveness since it’s original posting in October 2015.]

I get multiple calls weekly asking how long a car will last.  While it is always just a guess, I base my answers on listener feedback and personal experience.

Not all that long ago, people targeted 100,000 miles as their goal to drive their car because that is about the mileage you could expect before having a major failure.  However, cars have gotten much better, technology has improved, and people are doing more maintenance these days.  This is the reason the average age of cars on the road in the United States has reached an all-time high.

Simply put, cars are just better these days. Can you get 200,000 miles out of your car with no major issues? Some will, some won’t, but your behavior and maintenance practices can have a major effect on this.

Get familiar with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.  

Normally, these are included in the owner’s manual in the glove box.  Automakers base these recommendations on a lot of testing and should be heeded.  Often service departments recommend more frequent maintenance than the factory does, but that is how they make money.  It is hard to over-maintain a vehicle, but you don’t want to waste money either.  If you stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations, you cannot go wrong.

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The importance of lubricants.  

The single most important thing you can do is change your oil and filter on a regular basis based on your mileage. Again, automakers test to find out not only when oil should be changed, but also which weight of oil is best for your engine.  Some people still think the heavier the oil the…

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